Infographic: Prescription Drug Spending Trends

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

Prescription drug spending rose sharply in 2014, driven by growth in expenditures on specialty drugs, including medications to treat cancer and hepatitis C. Medicare’s spending on prescription pharmaceuticals also has risen, largely due to the addition of the Medicare prescription drug benefit in 2006: between 2004 and 2014, the program’s share of U.S. drug expenditures increased from 2 percent of $193 billion to 29 percent of $298 billion.

A new infographic by Visualizing Health Policy from the Kaiser Family Foundation spotlights these and other national spending trends on prescription drugs and the public’s views on pharmaceutical prices.

What’s the cost of medication non-adherence? As high as $290 billion annually, according to one frequently cited estimate. An equally bitter pill to swallow is the dismal C+ grade in medication adherence earned in 2013 by Americans with chronic medical conditions, according to the first National Report Card on Adherence from the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA).

Fortunately, the healthcare industry is striving to improve performance in this area. 42 Metrics for Improving Medication Adherence: Interventions, Impacts and Technologies provides convincing evidence of the impact of nine key interventions on medication non-adherence—from the presence of pharmacists in patient-centered medical homes to medication reconciliation conducted during home visits.

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